Recruiting and retaining top talent continue to be major, costly challenges for organizations that jeopardize business success. It’s been estimated that it costs up to 18 months’ salary to replace a manager and up to six months’ salary to replace an hourly-paid worker. It can cost up to 3 times the salary if the employee departs in the first year of employment.
- 22% turnover occurs in first 45 days of employment. This statistic is taken from a 2007 study. The statistic may have changed since then. In spite of adverse economic conditions, a survey conducted in 2011 revealed that 59% of HR professionals in North America say turnover rates will get worse in the next 5 years!
If we put cost implications aside, low employee engagement is often cited as a major reason motivating employees to leave, regardless of tenure.
Loosely defined, positive employee engagement may be considered as the personal (intellectual and emotional) commitment of the employee to work towards achieving the goals of the organization. Determinants of positive employee engagement generally include alignment of personal goals and values with those of the organization, opportunities for personal and professional development, the nature of the job assigned and a sense of belonging and pride from being associated with the organization. Low engagement results in dysfunctional work relationships, lower productivity, no discretionary effort.
- 69% of HR professionals say employee engagement is a serious problem. 84% say that it is not up to employees to engage themselves, but up to the organization to engage their employees.
The BIG picture
In my view, corporations need to see that employee engagement and loyalty are only two, albeit important, components of a much bigger issue – the need to engage employees to create and sustain business success. To reduce turnover rates and increase employee engagement, organizations must see the big picture: the inspiration, motivation and effort of all employees, who understand the vision, mission and objectives of the organization, the relevance of their role and the benefits they derive from contributing to business success. The development and on-going management of a well-defined employer brand is the key to creating a work environment where employees are engaged, loyal and working towards the common good of all stakeholders in the business.
Well-defined business brands give expression to “what’s in it for me, the customer” and offer value propositions to attract and retain customers. So too must the employer brand clearly express to potential and existing employees, why the organization is a great place to work, and bring its values to life in the experience of employees throughout their career. A well-defined employer brand should consist of three components – the why, how and what’s being offered by the employer and what the employee can expect in return for performance and effort:
- Relevance: provides answers to Why? Why is the company doing what it’s doing? What is the company’s business brand, mission, vision and values… THEN why do you need me, the employee?? Why are you using my skills ? What’s the connection between my role and the business brand promise? Why am I here? How will my skills be used to bring value to the company – make its vision, mission and brand promises come alive, so that I contribute to the creation of conditions for sustainable business success? Why should I be loyal to the company?
- Relationships / Resources: How? How will you make me feel connected to the ‘why’? What’s the corporate culture like? How do people work together? How can I access resources to make me contribute to the success of the company? How will I be supported to be the best I can be ? Will my opinions be heard? How will I be treated if I make a mistake?
- What’s in it for me the employee? What rewards / recognition do I get? What behaviours are rewarded? In what ways will good performance and discretionary effort be recognized? What can I expect in terms of promotions and opportunities for personal development and advancement? In what ways am I being recognized as a parent, a human being, someone who has needs beyond a paycheck?
Walking the talk – putting the employer brand into action
Equipping employees to deliver on the business brand is at the core of employer brand management. Beyond recruitment, on-boarding activities, compensation and employee benefits, organizations must demonstrate that that they are delivering on their employer brand promises through on-going career development programmes, mentorship, improvement of the work environment, staff-conferences and forums, team building and other activities that reinforce the organization’s values, culture and desired behaviours.
When these programmes equip employees to deliver the business brand promise, the conditions are created for alignment of employee behaviours with the organization’s vision, strategy, goals and objectives. When these programmes are viewed by employees as convincing proof that the employer has delivered on the employer brand promise, the conditions are created for employee loyalty and engagement.
Capital One – a good case in point
In a recent presentation at Your Workplace Conference, Jenny Winter, Chief People Officer at Capital One highlighted how the company’s business and employer brands are aligned. Captial One identifies its business brand values as ‘excellence’ and ‘do the right thing.’ They promise that they will meet customers’ needs and will challenge themselves to find better ways of serving customers. These are the hallmarks of their business brand. The employer brand promise is aligned to the business brand promise to employees as follows:
- Why? Employees get to contribute to high-performing teams and create products that are relevant to customers – clearly in line with the business brand promise to meet customers’ needs and find better ways of serving them;
- How does the company equip employees to do this? Capital One provides them with opportunities to learn and grow in a fun work environment
- What can employees expect to get in return for their efforts, beyond the paycheck? Work-life balance and various rewards and recognition.
A final word…
After all is said and done, the credibility of an organization’s business brand is proven when customers experience the brand promise in their interaction with the organization and its employees. Employees who experience the employer brand promise in the workplace are motivated, engaged and loyal to the organization and its goals. Engaged, loyal employees, regardless of their role, are the key to success in every organization.
See the BIG picture. Focus on what’s important.
Visit my website www.camilleisaacsmorell.com